Starting this year, many Colorado auto dealers should be able to get free answers to their legal questions.
The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association plans to launch a legal hotline with advice from lawyers specializing in dealership law. Association members would be able to call the hotline to get one free 15-minute consultation with each participating law firm, says Tim Jackson, president of the association in Denver.
Jackson is modeling the hotline after one the New York State Automobile Dealers Association has offered for 15 years. That hotline is free to the New York association's 1,000 members and does not have a consultation time limit.
In 2011 the New York association's hotline received about 5,600 calls and expected a similar total in 2012, says Bob Vancavage, president of the New York association in Albany.
"Those guys end up getting more business because they have connection to our members," Vancavage says. "The dealer who is served well by one of these companies when something really bad happens, they'll reach out to one of these companies."
In Colorado, three to six law firms would be available to consult with dealers, Jackson says. He has no launch date but expects the hotline to go live before year end, he says.
"The plan is for it not to cost us anything," Jackson says. "It is a member service that these law firms are helping provide. And we're the ones marketing their law firms."
Jackson decided to start a hotline because in recent years he has received five to 10 calls a day from dealers seeking legal advice.
Says Jackson: "We can only give business advice. And that's often 'You need to talk to an attorney.'''